Information systems development in agricultural markets (SIM)

Inades-Formation experimenting with agricultural producers in several countries information systems market (SIM) self-managed by them. These SIM particular enable producers to strengthen their bargaining power with traders.

According to the FAO definition: “ A SIM is normally operated by the public sector service that collects regular information on prices and in some cases the quantities of agricultural products widely sold in markets rural assembly, the wholesale and retail market, and communicates this information in a timely and regular basis through various media to farmers, traders, government officials, policy makers and others interested ” .

The goal of SIM is to help mainly farmers to follow market trends and ensure that their production meets the demand to make the most of their effort. In sum, the SIM contributes to strengthening the bargaining power of small producers face merchants. It aims to help them:
- Reducing risks marketing;
- Deciding where to sell their products agricultural;
- Check the prices offered conform to the market;
- Decide whether or not to store their products;
- Decide whether produce “out of season”.

However, it is noteworthy that in most cases the SIM in place since 1980 to support market liberalization have frequently been criticized for their inability to meet the needs of operators, their administrative burden and financial fragility.

Since then, new opportunities have helped restore these services: ICT development, decentralization of information systems, MIS reconciliation of professional organizations, etc.

SIM’s vision for Inades Training is to develop SIM as centers of self-directed services, efficient and durable in operation serving small producers. This vision comes in the following key points:
- The information disseminated meet real needs of the main actors are the producers and their organizations (types of information, lots of information, quality of information);
- The main beneficiaries receive directly information through their grassroots organizations (targeted SIM);
- The actors manage them- the same device to be simple, flexible and less expensive in its operation (Self SIM);
- The actors through their organizations are pooling financial management operation of the device (decentralized funding to SIM).

Several SIM experiments are currently underway in the Inades Training Network including Burkina Faso in the cashew and sesame sectors in Ivory Coast (corn), Togo (grains and seeds) and DR Congo (rice, corn, cassava, groundnuts in the province of Ecuador and corn and rice in Kasai Occidental province).

All these SIM have been redeveloped or built on self-directed model, giving more opportunities for Farmer Organizations beneficiaries to ensure sustainable access services to market information to their members and other rural communities. New SIM-run development initiatives are planned in the Inades Training Network including Burkina Faso and Burundi.

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Delivery Tool for information on prices in a market in Togo Alphonse Kouamé
Programme Officer ECAGRI
Inades Training / Secretariat General